본문 바로가기
  • Home

Socially Incompetent Character in The Office: Focus on Action Formations and Understanding Displays

  • The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea
  • Abbr : 사회언어학
  • 2023, 31(1), pp.1-32
  • Publisher : The Sociolinguistic Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > Linguistics
  • Received : January 28, 2023
  • Accepted : March 9, 2023
  • Published : March 31, 2023

Eunseok Ro 1 Josephine Lee 2

1부산대학교
2이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

By adopting conversation analysis, this study examines how action formation and understanding displays construct a socially inept and humorous character in the TV sitcom, The Office. The analysis revealed two recurrent patterns in the main character’s interactions—improper action formation and insufficient understanding displays. Specifically, the findings showed that the main character, Michael, was construed as one that is unaware of his uncanny actions and unable to understand the interlocuter’s inferential and sarcastic remarks. The inserted interview scenes also highlighted that a conversational norm has been violated and contribute to the characterization of Michael as a quirky, socially incompetent worker. As a result, the collective sender is not only able to establish common ground with the audience but also dramatize the humorous potential of the episode. These analytic findings demonstrate that CA can be a rigorous tool for revealing the specific interactional devices that are exploited by scriptwriters to configure characters and infuse comical elements into TV sitcoms.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.